Avast vs AVG

Avast and AVG offer powerful antivirus products to consumers. Avast acquired AVG in 2016, although the companies remain distinct antivirus brands with unique products. This comparison will help you differentiate between the two and find out which is best.

The most important thing to consider is the level of malware protection the software provides. Malware includes things like adware, viruses, trojans, and other malicious threats to your online security. We’ll also consider additional features, performance, design, and support. 

Want to know which one is best? Avast is my winner. Avast offers comprehensive security features that keep you safe online. Its products have high malware protection rates combined with good performance. Pricing is easy to understand, with four distinct tiers making it simple to pick the right version for you. 

Ready for the long version? Read on to find out how both products perform in my own tests. 

Summary: Avast vs AVG

Avast Premium Protection

  • Ransomware protection
  • Sandbox tool 
  • Password manager

AVG Internet Security

  • Enhanced firewall
  • Password protection
  • Data shredder
FeatureAvast Premium ProtectionAVG Internet Security
Antivirus and antispyware
Firewall
Webcam protection
Password manager
Anti-phishing
Ransomware protection
Banking and payment protection
Parental control
Network attack protection
Encrypted storage
Automatically update apps
VPN
PC cloud backup
File shredder
Performance optimization
Identity theft protection
Run suspicious apps in sandbox

BEST DEAL FOR AVAST:Get 70% off Avast Ultimate including all of its great security features and a VPN to protect your online activity.

BEST DEAL FOR AVG:Save 70% on AVG Ultimate and protect up to 10 compatible devices.

Background 

Avast

Based in Prague, Avast has more than 435 million active users. This makes it the second-largest antivirus software company in the world, as of April 2020. Avast is dedicated to creating a world that provides safety and privacy. It has a large-scale cloud-based machine learning engine, which receives a constant stream of data from millions of users. 

AVG Technologies

AVG was founded in 1991, just as Czechoslovakia was transitioning from communism to capitalism. In the early 2000s, AVG expanded internationally. Now it protects home users and businesses all around the world. It provides consumers with the right security to stay safe online. 

Pricing and compatibility

Avast has two product tiers: one free and one paid. This simple product lineup doesn’t allow great flexibility, but it’s easy to understand. 

A free antivirus can be tempting but it only covers the most basic threats. It doesn’t give you much protection when carrying out online activities such as banking or shopping. It’s always best to pay for advanced antivirus software.

Avast is not offering discounts on the first year of subscription. Protection for one PC will cost $69.99 (GBP £50.82). It costs $89.99 (GBP £65.35) for up to 10 devices. It comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Avast’s multi-device product is compatible with all major operating systems including Windows, Mac, and Android.

Like Avast, AVG offers a free antivirus. The next tier is AVG Internet Security and there are options to protect one device or up to 10 devices. The most expensive product is AVG Ultimate, at $119.99 (GBP £87.11) per year protecting 10 devices. AVG offers a monthly subscription, which is great if you are on a tight budget. 

At the time of writing, AVG is offering impressive discounts. AVG Internet Security is $39.48 (GBP £28.66) for the year and AVG Ultimate is $77.88 (GBP £56.54). AVG also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. 

The Ultimate plan is compatible with Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS devices. 

Effectiveness against malware

Hackers are posing a threat to your security, using malware to access your personal information. 

To see which antivirus is best at protecting you, I tested Avast and AVG in real-time. I downloaded four malware samples from the European Institute of Computer Antivirus Research (EICAR). As an additional test, I ran three live samples, including adware and Trojans. The results are outlined in the table below. 

Test FileEICAR Sample 1EICAR Sample 2EICAR Sample 3EICAR Sample 4Live Sample 1 (Adware)Live Sample 2 (Trojan)Live Sample 3
(Trojan)
AvastAllowedAllowedAllowedAllowedBlockedBlockedBlocked
AVGBlockedBlockedAllowedAllowedBlockedBlockedBlocked

Avast managed to block three of the live samples and protected my device. For the EICAR samples, Avast allowed all of them when downloaded over HTTPS, but blocked them on HTTP.  AVG similarly blocked all of the live malware files immediately. For the EICAR samples, the real-time scanner allowed zipped files to be downloaded but blocked the unzipped files. 

Avast effectiveness

AVG EICAR results

To further investigate Avast and AVG in terms of protection rates, I went on to look at some data from AV-Test and AV-Comparatives. Both labs provide the latest test results on antivirus performance and protection. AV-Test’s most recent protection report from May 2020 and June 2020 gave both Avast and AVG a 100 percent score for both months. The test used 339 samples, providing very trustworthy data. The industry average protection rate is 98.8 percent, so it’s easy to see that Avast and AVG are leaders in the field.

The latest Real-World Protection Test summary from AV-Comparatives captured data from February 2020 to May 2020. Avast and AVG came out with similar results again, both scoring 99.7 percent. Both Avast and AVG had eight false alarms during this period (a false alarm is when a file is mistakenly identified as a threat. This is a reasonable number, with the average across competitors being nine false alarms. 

Avast and AVG came out with pretty similar results in both my own tests and independent tests, so it’s hard to differentiate between the two in this round. 

Impact on PC performance

If you regularly use your device, any slowdown in performance can be annoying. The more programs you have running on your computer, the slower it becomes. It’s best to choose antivirus software that has minimal impact on your PC performance. 

I tested both Avast and AVG whilst running a full and quick scan, and while no scan was running, to see how many system resources it used.

Test TypeFull Scan Time (minutes)Full Scan Items ScannedQuick Scan CPU Utilization %Quick Scan Memory Utilization %Quick Scan Disk Utilization %Quick Scan Time (MB/s)
Avast6018700009072300146
AVG354031673679122722

Avast took 60 minutes to complete a full scan and scanned 1,870,000 files. AVG took less time at 35 minutes but only scanned 403,167 items. This shows Avast is more thorough in its scanning methods. The quick scan for Avast took 146 seconds and AVG just 22 seconds. Overall, AVG’s CPU, memory, and disk utilization were all lower when performing this scan.

Test TypeControl CPU Utilization % (no scan)Control Memory Utilization % (no scan)Control Disk Utilization (MB/s) (no scan)Full Scan CPU Utilization %Full Scan Memory Utilization %Full Scan Disk Utilization (MB/s)
Avast32722842735801
AVG51861213571425

While no scan was present, Avast used far fewer system resources than AVG in all areas. During a full scan, AVG used fewer system resources, but as stated, did not scan as many items as Avast.

AV-Comparatives also looks at the performance of leading antivirus software. Its latest performance test ran in April 2020. It tested common tasks including:

  • Downloading files
  • Browsing websites
  • File copying: first and subsequent run 
  • Installing/uninstalling applications
  • Archiving/unarchiving
  • Launching applications: first and subsequent run 

Avast and AVG were both rated as fast for launching applications and downloading files and all other tasks were rated as very fast. 

Avast and AVG are very similar in their performance and use of system resources. Avast scanned many more items than AVG, which just gives it an edge. You cannot compromise on safety and Avast’s thorough approach makes it the winner in this round.

Features

Along with the antivirus scanner itself, antivirus software comes with an abundance of features to keep you safe online. I have listed the features of both Avast Premium and AVG Internet Security to show you what you are getting. 

Avast Premium

  • Secure passwords
  • Block malware
  • Block spam and phishing emails
  • Safer shopping
  • Webcam protection 
  • Lockout hackers with an advanced firewall
  • Scan for wi-fi security weaknesses
  • Get an extra layer of ransomware security
  • Safely run suspicious apps
  • Permanently shred sensitive files
  • Automatically update apps
  • Install on all your devices

AVG Internet Security

  • Advanced antivirus
  • Behavior shield
  • AI detection
  • Real-time updates
  • Do not disturb mode
  • Password protection
  • Webcam protection
  • Data shredder

Here are the best features of both:

Avast Premium

  • Automatically update apps – Outdated software is a potential risk for hackers. Avast lets you update your software and apps in just one click.
  • Wifi security weaknesses – Wi-fi Inspector automatically scans your home network for vulnerable devices and helps address any security issues with step-by-step instructions.
  • Safer shopping – Shop safely and securely with this feature as it stops you from being sent to fake sites designed to steal your account information and passwords.

AVG Internet Security

  • Webcam protection – Protect against webcam hacking by forcing untrusted apps to request permission to use your webcam.
  • Data shredder – Securely and permanently delete files and data to prevent unintended or unauthorized recovery.
  • Password protection – Prevent ‘blocked apps’ from reading, changing, or deleting passwords saved in your browsers.

Overall, both are fairly similar in features. However, Avast provides advanced firewalls and extra layers of security for protection against threats, which gives you more peace of mind when using your device. Avast goes much further in levels of protection, so, therefore, is my winner in this round.

Signup and installation 

Once you’ve decided on your software, the next step is signup and installation. It’s a fairly simple process but I have outlined what you can expect below. 

If you’ve chosen Avast, you select the software version you want and are taken to the payment screen straight away. The layout is simple, clearly outlining your purchase and the billing period. There’s no option to add on any other products, which means you have to navigate your way back to the main website if you want to add extras. 

AVG follows a similar layout, with customer details and payment all on the one page.  

Both provide the installation links within seconds. You can have the software successfully installed on your device in minutes.

How easy is the interface to use?

Next up is the interface. The useability and appeal of any software is important, as you’ll be using it regularly to complete scans. For beginners, it’s also important that it’s user-friendly.  

Avast interface

Avast’s interface is minimalistic. On opening up the software, you’ll see your current protection status. On the main page, there’s also an option to run a smart scan in just one click. This scans for security, privacy, and any performance issues. This process is not complicated. The left-hand panel allows you to navigate to protection, privacy, and performance sections and a number of subsections. This could end up being quite confusing if you don’t know what section a specific feature belongs to. Overall the design is nice and simple.

AVG interface

AVG is more modern in its approach, using pictures and a visual approach to its interface. You clearly know if you’re protected, with the status displayed at the top of the window. A smart scan can be launched with one click. You can navigate easily to the various sections for more in-depth options. 

Customer support

If there’s a problem with your software, you don’t want the hassle of trying to trawl the internet to find the answer, as many people prefer speaking directly to someone. 

Avast will allow you to contact someone through live chat and email. If you do want to speak to someone over the phone, it does come at an extra cost. There are plenty of questions and answers, help guides, and support on the website.  It’s all easy to navigate, so you should find the answer you are looking for.

AVG’s website has a contact form but doesn’t state how long it will take for your query to be answered, so you may be waiting a while. The support hub allows you to search for your question or specific problem, taking you to associated answers and help guides. There is a support phone line but only for sales, not for technical support.

Avast vs AVG Conclusion 

Avast and AVG use different approaches to malware protection. My winner has to be Avast. Avast provides multi-layer protection and security, with an extensive feature list. Avast goes for the simple approach in terms of product offerings with just one paid option, making it easy for the consumer to understand what they’re getting.

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